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Roadfly Magazine
Issue 12
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Porsche Carrera GT3
Issue Twelve
May 25, 2004
Porsche 911 GT3
2004 New York Auto Show Coverage
BMW Promotes Chris Bangle
First Drive: 2004 Bentley Continental GT
Digital Camera Comparison & Review
ZF Sachs Nivomat Suspension
Preview: 2005 Porsche 911
Coming Next Issue
Beat Gas Prices
BBQ Guide
Dells Auto Museum
iPod FM Tuners

A Shocking Improvement:
ZF Sachs Nivomat System Shines Under Load (continued)

Ballast Loaded in a Suburban

Suburban without Nivomat Suspension

Suburban with Nivomat Suspension

Heading out to the Road Course

Go to
ZF Sachs Photo Gallery
Visit ZF Sachs:
ZF Sachs
We were paired with an engineer from ZF Sachs and invited to push each vehicle through the course. The ballast became immediately obvious as we tried to manuever the non-Nivomat vehicles through the slaloms, over railroad tracks and across the miniature "jumps." The non-Nivomat controlled vehicles wallowed and bounced, zigged and zagged and left us with a very uneasy feeling. Speaking generally, the non-Nivomat vehicles were quite a handful.

nce we calmed our sea-legs, we climbed into vehicles that were equipped with the Nivomat system and immediately noticed a dramatic improvement. How dramatic? While testing a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban equipped with Nivomat, I had to get out of the vehicle, walk to the back and visually inspect the ballast pack - I thought they had tried to pull a fast one... but the ballast was there, in all of its hefty glory. The engineer had a smile on his face as he gave me the "I told you so" routine.

A full-sized Suburban isn't exactly light on its feet, and it's generally less nimble when loaded with an extra 1500-lbs of heavily rear-biased ballast. But the Nivomat system completely masked the added cargo, and in fact, helped the vehicle feel almost Lotus-like. It shredded the slaloms with nary a tire squeal, it glided gracefully over the railroad tracks with barely a thump, and handled the irregular pavement with grace. It stopped and accelerated with complete control - no body roll, no slinky-like suspension wallow - just sure-footed, stable and safe response.

So if you're contemplating a new vehicle purchase, don't overlook the Nivomat option. And if it's not offered on a particular model, ask the manufacturer why. The benefits are tremendous, and you'll immediately notice the improvement in ride comfort and handling. And while ZF Sachs won't officially confirm it, we believe tire wear may actually improve as a result.

No matter how you slice it, the Nivomat system can't be beat. Check it out for yourself at:

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